In sleep medicine, the notion of stress is, in our opinion, too restrictive.
All the events of life possess a "somno-toxic" effect but their impact on sleep efficiency is often independent of their objective intensity.
"There’s nothing wrong with you, it is probably stress..."
"Yes, I know, you understand, that’s because I have some problems..."
All events of life possess their own « somno-toxic » effect but their impact on sleep efficiency is often independent of their objective intensity.
"Stress" is a set of reactions of the body in front of a new or threatening situation. These reactions have developed during evolution in a way that we can survive thoses changes or threats.
Stress, far from being harmful in itself can thus be very useful and we can be sure that it allowed our ancestors to escape from many dangers.
Nowadays, stressing stimuli are rarely wild biests and consist much more often in social situations like an exam or a verbal threat from another person.
The human culture gets more sophisticated, but the emotive basic reactions stay the same. (The brain at Mc Gill, Canada (in French))
The notion of life event is wider than that of stress because the ground counts more than the intensity of the agression in the appearance of fatigue and functional disorders in a chart that we call the «hypo-sleep syndrome».
The events of life are situations on which the individual has no grip and that he has to face with his own abilities of resistance.
If his abilities to resist are large, sleep is not (or little) affected in spite of the intensity of the constraints.
If the subject is fragile or already exhausted, less important life events can be the occasion of the appearance of functional disorders (decompensation of the adaptative mechanisms
Situations of loss :
Situations of exhaustion :
Situations of expectation :
Changing habits :
The "somnotoxic" power of a life event is not strictly correlated to the intensity of the "stress".
Some life events are such traumas that it would be illusory not to suffer of them during the time necessary for healing the wounds (and as time passes by, the subject retrieves his/her energy).
Other events can seem insignificant but are sometimes responsible for a brutal decompensation of the sleep regulation systems according to the principle of the drop of water that makes the vase overflow.
The somnologic or even "somnicologic"" approach of their chronobiological impact can, on the counterpart, present a certain amount of clues meant to improve sleep efficiency.
See the article ("Burnout and Karoushi")
 The term of "burn out" refers to an "inner fire" (that would destroy everything without affecting the appearance until the sudden crash). It is, according to the American stress specialists, a chart that associates tiredness, reduction of performance, loss of confidence, irritability and demotivation, a chart that contrasts with a certain hyperactivity that masks the symptoms of decompensation.